Campus Life

Ukrainian pianist gets standing ovation

Vadym Kholodenko, the 14th Van Cliburn International Piano Competition gold medalist, played a piano concert at Reynolds Performance Hall on Feb. 11.

Kholodenko played Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 in C major, K.467 with the Conway orchestra in the first part and Kholodenko played solo after intermission.

The Van Cliburn competition was held from May 24 to June 9, 2013, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Kholodenko was born in Kiev, Ukraine.

Kholodenko said he rehearsed eight to 10 hours a day in order to prepare for the Van Cliburn competition.

He said music is a job like any other to him. This job provides an opportunity to travel and see the world.

Kholodenko has been to many different countries, some of them more than once. He has visited Japan 15 times.

After the concert, Kholodenko said he felt cheerful, but that his own feelings were not the subject.

“The most important [thing]is when the audience likes the concert,” he said. “No one is interested about my feelings because we should understand that no matter how you feel before or after the concert ,people paid for their tickets. People want to hear at least good playing, so I just always have to be inspired.”

Kholodenko said the Conway Orchestra conductor, Geoffrey Robson, made it easy for him to perform despite the fact that he only rehearsed with the orchestra once.

“[It was easy to play] thanks to the conductor, a wonderful young man Geoff, who is a great musician,” he said. “I am very grateful to the orchestra. [The day before the concert] we rehearsed and I had the impudence to talk a lot. I hope that I did not offend them. It seems like they gathered their thoughts and played very well. I understand that there were a lot of students [in the orchestra], who do not have so much experience, but nevertheless it was very valuable for me and for them, I think.”

Amanda Horton, Public Appearances director, said Reynolds Performance Hall negotiated Kholodenko coming to campus before the results of the competition were announced, about a year ago.

Horton said her team always books events a year and a half in advance.

Horton said they were excited to see Kholodenko performing at Reynolds when they found out he won the competition.

Horton said she thought the concert was absolutely amazing.

“I thought the crowd really responded well to him,” she said. “His talent, the way that he not only played but also his stage presence – it was truly wonderful.”

Reynolds was almost full and a standing ovation followed the concert.

Kholodenko played two short musical pieces as an encore.

Freshman Aigerim Tulepova said the concert was a musical disclosure: something very intimate happening on stage that she had a chance to oversee from the performance hall.

“Tonight I got a unique chance not just to listen to a classical masterpiece but also to watch the stage performance,” she said. “I was lucky enough to sit in the front row and watch Kholodenko’s fingers moving with phenomenal speed and also his interesting facial impressions, which I had never seen before in other piano players. That left a big impression on me and it was definitely extremely inspiring and a spiritually enriching experience.”

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